We all want people to read our work and give us perspective on what we’re working on.
We want them to be thoughtful about their responses.
We want feedback that genuinely improves the work that we take on.
So, it’s really disappointing when we get really bad feedback.
This blog post will point to my favorite two sucky pieces of feedback, starting with . . .
(1) This is not analytical
I submitted an article to a fancy schmancy journal.
The article was rejected out of hand.
It wasn’t analytical.
Now this is a peculiar chunk of feedback that’s baffling because my work is academic writing. A definition of analytical is using logic or using logical reasoning.
So as I write, I certainly am trying to use logical reasoning to support my argument.
What did I do?
I sent it to another scholar and asked what he thought that meant. I ended up incorporating more primary source material to justify my point.
However, this is the kind of feedback where you think you’re doing exactly the right thing, but the other person doesn’t see it. The problem is that I, as the writer, cannot crawl into someone’s mind to make sense of what you find analytical, it doesn’t quite work.
Frankly, it’s lazy.
So, if you’re reading this, and you have thoughts on what it means to be “not analytical,” please share it with me and I’ll follow up this post with a proper definition of what that means.
My other favorite chunk of feedback?
Yeah, this was my advisor’s favorite.
Here’s the thing. As I’m writing the thing, what I’m writing is clear to me. I’m not in your head, so I don’t know what is vague about it.
I get that you think that something is vague.
I genuinely want to fix what is vague.
However, because I don’t know why something is vague, the odds of my being able to really provide the much needed clarity declines.
What did I do?
I hired an editor. She was really good at articulating in concrete and specific ways what needed to change.
So if you’re providing feedback to a writer, please state what is not clear and why?
OK, there’s my thoughts about sucky feedback in this #AcWriMo. I would love to hear what doesn’t work for me or put more meat on the bones of vague and not analytical! And if you want additional writing tips, sign up for my newsletter here!